A mental health specialist is responsible for evaluating a patient's mental health condition and develop appropriate treatment plans to help the patients cope up with their mental difficulties. Mental health specialists provide counseling to the patients, listening to their situation, and responding with the utmost consideration. They also create regular progress reports and medical charts to monitor ongoing medication, updating treatment plans as needed. A mental health specialist must have excellent communication and organization skills, helping the patients deal with their mental stress and return to a healthy lifestyle.

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Mental Health Specialist Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real mental health specialist resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Provide individualize intervention for problematic behaviors using TCI techniques such as de-escalation, to prevent and/or manage crisis.
  • Assist and encourage patients with ADL's including feeding, ambulating, and hygiene to promote patient care.
  • Utilize rehabilitation principles to support individuals, families and communities in developing effective strategies to improve client mental health functioning.
  • Provide psychological care to patients in an in-patient psych unit, including facilitating group activities, crisis intervention, implementing therapeutic approaches
  • Meet physical requirements to complete SAMA and CPR training.
  • Provide kindness and compassion to the deceased and their families.
  • Certify in CPR, patient restraint, and individual mini mental status exams.
  • Collaborate with interdisciplinary team to support the children s education plans, behavioral and ADL goals, and relationship-building skills.
  • Render direct patient care and services to high-acuity mentally and cognitively impair patients in the hospital setting.
  • Provide specialized care and direct supervision for mentally ill adult, child and adolescent direct towards optimal care and rehabilitation.PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
  • Provide administrative oversight to several projects, including a provider incentive program and the drafting of the Medicaid request for qualifications.
  • Document and bill for services in accordance with Medi-Cal regulations.

Mental Health Specialist Job Description

Perhaps the hardest question to answer when deciding on a career as a mental health specialist is "should I become a mental health specialist?" You might find this info to be helpful. When compared to other jobs, mental health specialist careers are projected to have a growth rate described as "much faster than average" at 11% from 2018 through 2028. This is in accordance with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What's more, is that the projected number of opportunities that are predicted to become available for a mental health specialist by 2028 is 81,200.

A mental health specialist annual salary averages $47,321, which breaks down to $22.75 an hour. However, mental health specialists can earn anywhere from upwards of $31,000 to $71,000 a year. This means that the top-earning mental health specialists make $35,000 more than the lowest-earning ones.

As is the case with most jobs, it takes work to become a mental health specialist. Sometimes people change their minds about their career after working in the profession. That's why we looked into some other professions that might help you find your next opportunity. These professions include a community health counselor, youth care specialist, living specialist, and intervention specialist.

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Mental Health Specialist Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 19% of Mental Health Specialists are proficient in Patients, Social Work, and Rehabilitation. They’re also known for soft skills such as Emotional skills, Interpersonal skills, and Problem-solving skills.

We break down the percentage of Mental Health Specialists that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Patients, 19%

    Provided psychological care to patients in an in-patient psych unit, including facilitating group activities, crisis intervention, implementing therapeutic approaches

  • Social Work, 11%

    Provided clinical social work/counseling services to adults/children with severe mental illness and co morbid conditions through mental health intensive case management.

  • Rehabilitation, 6%

    Provided specialized care and direct supervision for mentally ill adult, child and adolescent directed towards optimal care and rehabilitation.PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE

  • Mental Health, 5%

    Welcomed and treated individuals with co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders as having two primary conditions each requiring attention.

  • CPR, 5%

    Keep current CPR certification and Certification in Therapeutic Intervention Procedures.

  • Vital Signs, 4%

    Assisted in prompting patients to complete ADL/ILS skills, crisis/restraints and taking routine vital signs of patients under high supervision.

Most mental health specialists list "patients," "social work," and "rehabilitation" as skills on their resumes. We go into more details on the most important mental health specialist responsibilities here:

  • Arguably the most important personality trait for a mental health specialist to have happens to be emotional skills. An example from a resume said this about the skill, "social workers often work with people who are in stressful and difficult situations" Additionally, other resumes have pointed out that mental health specialists can use emotional skills to "provide direct care to individuals recovering from severe mental illness and / or emotional disorders in residential care facility. "
  • Another trait important for fulfilling mental health specialist duties is interpersonal skills. According to a mental health specialist resume, "social workers need to be able to work with different groups of people." Here's an example of how mental health specialists are able to utilize interpersonal skills: "provide interpersonal and technical skills in the observation and recognition of symptoms and reactions of patients with mental illness. "
  • Mental health specialists are also known for problem-solving skills, which can be critical when it comes to performing their duties. An example of why this skill is important is shown by this snippet that we found in a mental health specialist resume: "social workers need to develop practical and innovative solutions to their clients’ problems." We also found this resume example that details how this skill is put to the test: "led groups based on independent living, life skills, teen issues, conflict resolution, and addictions. "
  • A mental health specialist responsibilities sometimes require "communication skills." The responsibilities that rely on this skills are shown by this resume excerpt: "clients talk to social workers about challenges in their lives" This resume example shows how this skill is used by mental health specialists: "developed and maintained lines of communication with community by educating them on mental illness to agencies, residence and other professionals. "
  • As part of the mental health specialist description, you might find that one of the skills that might be helpful to the job is "organizational skills." A mental health specialist resume included this snippet: "social workers must help and manage multiple clients, often assisting with their paperwork or documenting their treatment." This skill could be useful in this scenario: "demonstrate organizational intelligence, cleanliness, and awareness of spatial requirements. "
  • See the full list of mental health specialist skills.

    Before becoming a mental health specialist, 62.3% earned their bachelor's degree. When it comes down to graduating with a master's degree, 20.8% mental health specialists went for the extra education. If you're wanting to pursue this career, it may be possible to be successful with a high school degree. In fact, most mental health specialists have a college degree. But about one out of every eight mental health specialists didn't attend college at all.

    Those mental health specialists who do attend college, typically earn either a psychology degree or a social work degree. Less commonly earned degrees for mental health specialists include a criminal justice degree or a sociology degree.

    Once you've obtained the level of education you're comfortable with, you might start applying to companies to become a mental health specialist. We've found that most mental health specialist resumes include experience from Dungarvin, Telecare, and Partners Healthcare Solutions Inc. Of recent, Dungarvin had 80 positions open for mental health specialists. Meanwhile, there are 40 job openings at Telecare and 23 at Partners Healthcare Solutions Inc.

    Since salary is important to some mental health specialists, it's good to note that they are figured to earn the highest salaries at Research Foundation For Mental Hygiene Inc, Highland General Hospital, and New York University. If you were to take a closer look at Research Foundation For Mental Hygiene Inc, you'd find that the average mental health specialist salary is $66,726. Then at Highland General Hospital, mental health specialists receive an average salary of $66,087, while the salary at New York University is $64,491.

    View more details on mental health specialist salaries across the United States.

    If you earned a degree from the top 100 educational institutions in the United States, you might want to take a look at Sheppard Pratt, Apalachee Center, and Private Practice. These three companies have hired a significant number of mental health specialists from these institutions.

    In general, mental health specialists fulfill roles in the health care and professional industries. While employment numbers are high in those industries, the mental health specialist annual salary is the highest in the government industry with $47,531 as the average salary. Meanwhile, the non profits and professional industries pay $43,784 and $43,748 respectively. This means that mental health specialists who are employed in the government industry make 9.8% more than mental health specialists who work in the pharmaceutical Industry.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious mental health specialists are:

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    What Community Health Counselors Do

    A community health counselor typically provides health and welfare support to the disadvantaged members of a community. Their responsibilities revolve around devising strategies to reach out to community members, coordinating with schools and other institutions, and building positive relationships with the communities that they serve. They may also provide counseling sessions to individuals of all ages, conduct observations and assessments, perform interventions, and identify any signs of abuse or neglect, reporting to the authorities right away. Furthermore, they may refer families or individuals to other social services unit if necessary.

    We looked at the average mental health specialist annual salary and compared it with the average of a community health counselor. Generally speaking, community health counselors receive $4,017 lower pay than mental health specialists per year.

    While the salaries between these two careers can be different, they do share some of the same responsibilities. Employees in both mental health specialists and community health counselors positions are skilled in patients, social work, and rehabilitation.

    These skill sets are where the common ground ends though. A mental health specialist responsibility is more likely to require skills like "substance abuse," "therapeutic relationships," "autism," and "mental health care." Whereas a community health counselor requires skills like "behavioral health," "eating disorders," "mental health disorders," and "medication education." Just by understanding these different skills you can see how different these careers are.

    Community health counselors tend to make the most money in the health care industry by averaging a salary of $41,674. In contrast, mental health specialists make the biggest average salary of $47,531 in the government industry.

    The education levels that community health counselors earn is a bit different than that of mental health specialists. In particular, community health counselors are 2.1% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree than a mental health specialist. Additionally, they're 0.7% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    What Are The Duties Of a Youth Care Specialist?

    Youth care specialists are social experts who coordinate programs for children and young people who need care while being away from their own families for some reason. These specialists are required to maintain a safe environment in the community so that children will feel safe, cared for, and nurture. They must lead various seminars for youths about topics such as job readiness, financial literacy, and higher education. They must also communicate the concerns and other important information to a child's assigned social worker and provide back-up support to case managers if needed.

    Next up, we have the youth care specialist profession to look over. This career brings along a lower average salary when compared to a mental health specialist annual salary. In fact, youth care specialists salary difference is $8,366 lower than the salary of mental health specialists per year.

    Not everything about these jobs is different. Take their skills, for example. Mental health specialists and youth care specialists both include similar skills like "patients," "social work," and "mental health" on their resumes.

    But both careers also use different skills, according to real mental health specialist resumes. While mental health specialist responsibilities can utilize skills like "rehabilitation," "mental illness," "therapeutic relationships," and "direct patient care," some youth care specialists use skills like "customer service," "excellent time management," "minor maintenance," and "direct care."

    It's been discovered that youth care specialists earn lower salaries compared to mental health specialists, but we wanted to find out where youth care specialists earned the most pay. The answer? The government industry. The average salary in the industry is $39,391. Additionally, mental health specialists earn the highest paychecks in the government with an average salary of $47,531.

    On the topic of education, youth care specialists earn lower levels of education than mental health specialists. In general, they're 13.9% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.7% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    What Technology Do You Think Will Become More Important And Prevalent For Mental Health Specialists In The Next 3-5 Years?

    Logan Lamprecht Ph.D.

    Clinical Assistant Professor, Counseling Clinic Director, Idaho State University

    Continued training for working in tele-counseling settings and confidential software for tele-counseling sessions seems more and more likely, as the field of counseling continues to adjust to providing care in virtual environments.Show more

    How a Living Specialist Compares

    A living specialist is a person who is responsible for assisting and guiding individuals that have difficulties caring for themselves. They are the person who helps them in doing household chores and guiding them throughout the cleaning process. This career is an important position in society because it provides care for those who are in need.

    The third profession we take a look at is living specialist. On an average scale, these workers bring in lower salaries than mental health specialists. In fact, they make a $10,562 lower salary per year.

    By looking over several mental health specialists and living specialists resumes, we found that both roles utilize similar skills, such as "mental health," "cpr," and "substance abuse." But beyond that the careers look very different.

    As mentioned, these two careers differ between other skills that are required for performing the work exceedingly well. For example, gathering from mental health specialists resumes, they are more likely to have skills like "patients," "social work," "rehabilitation," and "vital signs." But a living specialist might have skills like "foster care," "developmental disabilities," "emergency situations," and "emergency first aid."

    Additionally, living specialists earn a higher salary in the non profits industry compared to other industries. In this industry, they receive an average salary of $37,646. Additionally, mental health specialists earn an average salary of $47,531 in the government industry.

    When it comes to education, living specialists tend to earn lower education levels than mental health specialists. In fact, they're 9.8% less likely to earn a Master's Degree, and 0.4% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

    Description Of an Intervention Specialist

    An intervention specialist is responsible for assisting children with special education and social adjustment needs in schools and other educational settings. You will be responsible for designing, executing, and assessing programs based on different factors, including gender, cultural background, and age. Other tasks that you will likely perform include working closely with teachers to discuss the subject matter with students, ensuring children and occupied and safe, and maintaining records of children's performance and lesson plans. An intervention specialist is also responsible for adhering to individualized education programs.

    Intervention specialists tend to earn a higher pay than mental health specialists by about $2,859 per year.

    While both mental health specialists and intervention specialists complete day-to-day tasks using similar skills like patients, social work, and mental health, the two careers also vary in other skills.

    While some skills are shared by these professions, there are some differences to note. "rehabilitation," "cpr," "vital signs," and "mental illness" are skills that have shown up on mental health specialists resumes. Additionally, intervention specialist uses skills like classroom management, group sessions, developmental disabilities, and mathematics on their resumes.

    Intervention specialists earn a higher salary in the government industry with an average of $52,625. Whereas, mental health specialists earn the highest salary in the government industry.

    In general, intervention specialists reach similar levels of education when compared to mental health specialists resumes. Intervention specialists are 2.8% more likely to earn their Master's Degree and 0.3% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.